Notes From a Nativity Son: Drinking in the Last Chance Saloon

Hal Austin

As we collectively sleep-walk in to another general election, the bells are tolling for a once proud nation that has become caught up in the tangle of political and economic mediocrity and individual egotism. But the warning bells signal more than that we are in the last chance saloon; it is the mourning sound for a nation on its way to the grave yard, a people being swept away by time and change and incompetence, as ordinary people unaware that time is short.

The weakness of Barbadian political gravity is partly fed by a press that is both out of its league and badly in need of proper direction. The problem with this is two-fold: Barbados national conversation revolves around personalities and the two-party political system, neither of which advances the quality of that discussion. Time and time again, despite reminders that one is not a member of any political party, one finds oneself the target for personal abuse on the grounds that one must be a secret party member. The rationale for this simple thinking is that to oppose the policies of a particular party then one must be an opposition member. This is a natural outcome of the educational system in which debate is based around – and encouraged – the demolition of personalities and point scoring. One explanation, although I am not convinced it is the only one, is that the educational system, based as it is on learning by rote, does not encourage critical thinking. And since our higher education does not include philosophy, it is not part of the public discourse to reason. This is compounded by the fact that since law, litigation rather than academic or theoretical, is the main professional training, it develops a model of argument based on taking a position, rather than following the facts.

To a large extent, those unsure of their arguments use party politics as a defence mechanism, a protective shield which blocks out all other streams of discourse. Let us take, for example, the way political views are communicated. Most politicians speak from a platform, ridiculing the opposition, and caring very little for the factual content of their speeches.
But there is no political culture of getting the opposing politicians to sit down together and answer questions in an orderly fashion from constituents. It is just not done. The result is that people celebrate the speaker who does not resort to notes, or who is the foulest, or ridicules rivals in the most humorous of ways. Content of the argument and relevance do not matter.

As the economy bottoms out and bumps along at an officially statistically insignificant growth, but suspiciously still in deep recession, our policymakers, journalists and politicians are indulging in party political gibberish while the vast majority of Barbadians face an economic Armageddon.

But time is slipping away, as the current DLP government finds itself increasingly out of its depth. Two things illustrate the DLP’s failure to grasp government: the first was the unexpected general election victory, which caught them unawares; and the second, was the sad and unexpected death of David Thompson, who stood head and shoulders above the other members of his Cabinet. The net result of the first development was that the party did not have a programme for government. It had a manifesto, or what passed for a manifesto, which lacked a road map for progressive change in Barbados, so Thompson’s first policy initiatives were blatantly populist – an unnecessary and expensive pay rise for the public sector, and the giving away of much-needed social housing. Neither initiative would enhance the popularity of the DLP government with its voters, since the people benefiting from the ownership of homes they should not have had would almost certainly be in the main majority DLP voters.

The public sector pay rise was economic recklessness at that particular juncture – the middle of the global recession – with the Barbados economy locked down with a burdensome current account deficit, a heavy massive unemployment, including huge underemployment, and the other social problems it inherited from fourteen years of BLP rule. Under Stuart and Sinckler, the party has been wrongly interpreting party and government and state as one and the same. Even worse, they have been allowed to ge4t away with it. So, the very idea of putting country above party or self is a contradiction, since the ruling mafia sees them as one.

Under this collective DLP failure, all the BLP opposition had to do was to stand by and allow the DLP to commit political suicide. But in its wisdom it has decided to publish a pre-election 15-point plan, and its rivals, quite rightly, have made those points the subject of political debate. It is a clear example of putting your foot in dog’s mess.

As a nation we are fiddling while Rome burns and, sadly, none of our senior politicians, policymakers or public intellectuals or civic or religious leaders are providing the kinds of leadership that is badly needed for this time in our history. They are all behaving like crabs in a barrel: a nation hypnotised by the self- deception that it has a high standard of education, punching above its weight, yet each succeeding generation seems to be falling further and further back.

To develop a vision of a progressive Barbados, our political leaders must first understand the nature of the society, who are the people who have brought us from the threshold of an impoverished post-slaval society to one that put a high value on education by the end of the 19th century and, in the early 20th century established this little island as the driving force of Caribbean knowledge.

In fact, up until the eve of constitutional independence, Barbados still had a regional – and international – reputational of which it could be proud. Now we have a nation that, according to officials, where young men and women cannot pass the basic entry tests to the Defence Force, the police or nursing, traditional lower middle class jobs that historically have always been over-subscribed. An island that, only a few decades ago, filled the understaffed British national health service, the British army and London Transport.

This decline is not a party political issue, it is a failure of all post-independence governments and of a people who have lost their anchor.
The people who have driven this nation have been the hard-working lower middle class and the aspiring skilled and semi-skilled workers, who set examples  of decency, hard work, a search for knowledge and a desire to get on. Post independence, what we now see is a generation of public sector workers who think being a civil servant is a walk in the park, people who have no sense of commitment to their colleagues, the public they serve or the nation.

Economic Policy:
Both leading parties have an economic policy which emphasises Barbados being an offshore financial centre and attracting wealthy individuals to the country as tourists and/or business people. Implicit in this policy is that super-wealthy will use their money to create jobs and buy goods and services, and, therefore, the economy will benefit. There are a number of serious flaws in this supply-side economics, the notion of trickle down benefits.

First, neither the big offshore companies nor wealthy individuals spend the money in the country that policymakers hoped they would. To the multi-millionaires, Barbados is just a holiday location and they have no real business interest in a nation of about 300000 people. Those who do, may venture in to a business supplying their peers with goods and services: golf courses, five-star hotel accommodation, luxury chauffeur-driven cars, etc. But the main provider of jobs continues to be the public sector, or private businesses which depend on the public sector for most of their work, such as the major construction companies and those who depend on government procurement.

Neither of the leading parties has come up with plans to radically rebalance the economy in a transformative way. All they are offering is more of the same: more hotels, more tourism marketing, more incentives for offshore companies, more public sector jobs, more shouting and screaming. Lip service is often paid to developing the private sector, but in truth neither party has any workable policies for so doing. Three is no broad line of the niche manufacturing or service sectors that would fit neatly in to the Barbadian cultural and social landscaper; there is no comprehensive skills training programme, apart from the fiddling about at the Samuel Jackson Prescod Polytechnic. What they do not seem to understand, however, is that these proposed new ‘policies’ have been failing for the last 45 years and will continue to do so in a rapidly changing world.

The most important preparation for the middle to late 21st century global economy is the realisation that things have changed for ever. The global rebalancing that is taking place will not be reversible in our life time, or our children’s, or our children’s children. Given this reality, Barbados has two broad alternatives: going with the flow and steadily declining over the decades; or, providing young people with the high-quality skills, world-class education and creative intellectual environment which would help them to compete in the fast re-shaping world.

In the ideas-free so-called political debate we have in Barbados, the public is served a politically nutritionless diet of character assassination, innuendo and waffle, dished out from a platform by some party apparatchik, who then walks off in the dark night. They are rarely questioned by voters and asked for opinions on the burning issues of the day. When they do express what passes for ideas, such as mantra of economic growth, they repeat it like a semi-comatose monkey. To talk of social equality or job creation is to upset the cosy little world our politicians and policymakers live in. We live in a society in which a huge number of selfish people will rather sacrifice the future of the nation so they can continue to hold on to their non-productive public sector jobs.

It is a classic case of me before anyone else, only this selfishness has been so hard-wired in to Barbadian consciousness that most people think it is normal. Recently, the Cambridge-educated economist, Nick Dewhirst, wrote a thoughtful article on why the Barbados dollar needs to be devalued. It should be compulsory reading for all in government, the central bank and senior levels of the civil service. As things stand, public finances are in a mess, the tourism and leisure industry are in collapse, the foreign-owned banks are on strike and not lending money to households or businesses, although recently they have been paying lip-service to lending, and the people are getting restless.

The reality is that with a reducing tax take, greater stress on national insurance and businesses using VAT as cash flow, the government is in more trouble than it will admit. Further, the main opposition party is either colluding in keeping the people in the dark, or itself has no answer to the frightful problems facing the nation.

If the economy remains sluggish, burdened with debt and a growing current account deficit, it means that it will take much longer to emerge from the historically deep crisis and reach anything like the level of economic activity that will sustain sustainable growth. In the meantime, the central bank is sitting on a massive Bds$1.3bn foreign currency reserve pile, which is not doing anything for the nation. It is like a household piling up personal debt at massive interest rates while keeping a reasonable amount of money in a non-interest bearing account. It does not make financial or economic sense. A substantial part of that reserve, up to half, could be used to fund small businesses with strict conditionality, creating more jobs and stimulating the economy.
But, through adherence to an out–dated economic dated which died a natural death in the 1970s, when most of the economic advisers were undergraduates, has got the nation held prisoner in an intellectual head lock.

52 thoughts on “Notes From a Nativity Son: Drinking in the Last Chance Saloon

  1. A scathing review of the current governance system of government. Don’t agree with taking up half of the international reserves to pump into stimulating business because the heavy distributive sector combined with heavy imports of food and oil means forex outflow will occur. Until we change our currency peg we have to be able to defend the dollar.

  2. 99%
    Excellent assessment, presentation and conclusion.

    The prescription is also correct – i.e. a focused investment in the local productive sector, HOWEVER, in light of our endemic incompetence that is best exemplified by the fact that our only option in seeking to operate successful businesses is to sell them to foreigners, this makes no sense.

    The REAL challenge for Barbados, and our ONLY HOPE, is to identify a core of leaders who can actually GET THINGS DONE! ….and this must be done NOW!

  3. Rather than sell off the assets which are currently mismanaged and stolen by the current politicians, why don’t we PRIVATIZE THE GOVERNMENT…..get rid of the real problem.

    1 – Form a national (supervisory) committee of ESTABLISHED COMMUNITY LEADERS
    2 – Advertise leadership positions (ministers) for the different ministries
    3 – Recruit competent leaders and give them clear mandates
    4 – Monitor and discipline them via the NSC as needed

    Problem solved – This is how we should PRIVATIZE.

    • @Bush Tea

      We all have agreed that the problem is leadership. Hal is asking the same leadership who is married to the same consumption model to take up half the countries reserves. What do you think will happen? We have to correct the governance issue first!

  4. DAVID
    Surely, Bush Tea’s brew is the ideal ploy that should solve the problem of governance. Proven leaders should be asked to lead the country. As it is we have jackasses in thoroughbred horse races

  5. Mr Austin is correct on most counts. Back in the late 60’s and early 70’s a group of Black nationalists: Leroy Harewood, Calvin Alleyne, Glenroy Straughan, Robert Clarke, John Connel and others warned that our island state will hit a brickwall.In more recent times visionary educators like the late John Cumberbatch warned that the educational system will eventually out live its usefullness. Barrow, Adams, St. John, Sandiford, Arthur, Thompson, Stuart were /are politicans-they were not agents of change they were/are essentially fasces of change. This trend will continue with Mottley, Sinkler etc. Progressive thinkers such as Trevor Precod, David Commissiong and myself have all engaged in nefarious party politics. In other words, even those among us who knew that this system was flawed became opportunistic and attempted to work within their decadent party structures/environment. We simply failed to continue the real revolutionary work needed to radically transform the society.We now have a fully entrenched new black, rich, intellectual, elite, political , social , professional, managerial class that will take at least fifty years to naturally disappear. Chances are that as we speak another one is being created to replace this one ! The future of our island state is perhaps in those not yet born or not yet pass the age of 5. The question is whether we are prepared to fight for the building of a new Barbados so that on the hundredth anniversary of independence we would have the Barbados we know is possible.

  6. @ GP
    Thanks for the support, but you could really hush up! You and others like you are the real problem with Barbados.
    In ANY COUNTRY only a VERY SMALL percentage of the population is blessed with the intellectual capacity, the vision and the intestinal fortitude to be high quality leaders.
    It is only natural that such talents will usually show at an early age and such persons end up at the so-called top schools.
    Most of wunna that OWE Barbados in terms of enlightened leadership have run off to greener pastures to get rich / avoid confrontation with idiots/ show off in a bigger fish pond/ or behind some woman.

    YOU and HANTS are cases in point.

    You feel if the two of wunna was running things ’bout here that it could go so?
    ….somebodies’s tails would be up in Dodds for CLICO
    ….another set would be there for the Barrack scam
    ….more would be in for Hardwood, Carcicot, and EVERY man jack that the auditor General called out would be before a standing Commission of inquiry to sort out the facts….

    Who can expect the rest of us simple people who could not even excel at the 11 plus to operate at such a level????
    We got the blind leading the blind while Hants in Canada fishing and you all bout the place helping semi-literate white children to become MD’s. stupseeeee!!!

    Of course if wunna was to answer wunna TRUE calling and operate as Bushie suggests,THEN wunna would come to understand what being” persecuted for righteousness sake” means… 🙂

    I will ignore your harrange, and just say that for several years I have thought that our parliament should be composed of proven leaders chosen from an assembly of leaders in each constituency

  8. @Georgie Porgie

    We have a governance system which is broken. It is not relevant in a world that has changed in the last 25 years. We have to fix it. For example the Auditor General who has oversight to report on government’s finances cannot enforce any exceptions identified.

    We have to focus on the systemic problem which is breeding the issues. So that violation of the financial rules or padding the public service can be routinely dealt as two examples.

    The process of discussion the country is going through and the catastrophic failures being experienced is part of the process to lead to change.

  9. “Most politicians speak from a platform, ridiculing the opposition, and caring very little for the factual content of their speeches.”

    “Under this collective DLP failure, all the BLP opposition had to do was to stand by and allow the DLP to commit political suicide. But in its wisdom it has decided to publish a pre-election 15-point plan, and its rivals, quite rightly, have made those points the subject of political debate. It is a clear example of putting your foot in dog’s mess.”

    “One explanation, although I am not convinced it is the only one, is that the educational system, based as it is on learning by rote, does not encourage critical thinking. And since our higher education does not include philosophy, it is not part of the public discourse to reason.”

    I think these three excerpts from Hal Austin’s piece says a lot about the author and those that have commented thus far.

  10. @David

    What is that heading again? “Notes from a Nativity Son”? Is it the season or does Hal aspire to a higher calling?

  11. @Sargeant

    Here is a brain puzzler for you.

    Britain is reported to be withholding aid to Rwanda because it suspects they are supporting rebels with ARMS in the conflict in neighbouring Congo.

    The moral of the story – it is a topsy turvy world we live in nowadays.

  12. On an off related topic: Kerri Symmonds questioned government about its laziness in operationalizing the economic partnership agreement with th EC. With the Eurozone in perennial crisis how do we see the partnership progressing?

  13. Listening to Barbados news it seems the island has a pussy problem,
    Lion fish
    Lion politicians
    Robbers and rapists Lion in wait
    Curbing these cats would be a good start at getting on track

  14. @David
    Unemployment in the Eurozone is running @11%; youth unemployment in Spain is 54%, you’ve heard about the challenges that Greece and Portugal are facing. A rising tide floats all boats, this tide ain’t rising, some of these politicians just like to spout hot air. Kerri should switch topics otherwise his boat will be anchored in mud.

  15. @ Hal Austin:

    Your article is well written but only regurgitates what we already know is ‘wrong” and worryingly challenging for Barbados. Because we have witnessed Barbados making great strides and achieving a lot in our lifetime we might just be disappointed to see the regression that is taking place right before our very eyes. Philosophically speaking, one can argue that a country can only achieve up to its maximum potential at which point the ‘paradox of life’ or ‘zero sum’ principle will eventually kick in:-the more education a people are exposed to the more stupid they become.

    The question is: are we not being a bit overly demanding by setting unrealistically too high standards for and expectations from a people still marred and scarred by the vestiges of recent slavery and colonialism? The educational system and nepotistic type social networking that worked for an earlier generation has run its full course and now out of intellectual steam rendering it incapable of dealing with the current economic and social challenges confronting us.

    The fast emerging paradigm requires people infused with a spirit of entrepreneurship and self reliance like our forefathers; not supplicant white collar servants trained in a rote-based academic environment. What is urgently required are ‘free’ thinkers using that liberating technology ICT to break the educational mould Barbadians have been so fashioned in for the last 60 years turning them into government dependent social robots.

    There is absolutely no way that Barbados can advance to the required next level of socio-economic development to stay well positioned in the race unless the pervading malaise of State dependency, recognition via political party affiliation and conspicuous consumption to prove one’s social worth are seen as part of the ‘ancien régime’ and gotten rid of. The words of EWB have finally been turned into a real nightmare. We certainly do have an “army of occupation” in the form of the bloated public sector encamped at the doorsteps of the taxpayers.

    The new criteria for economic achievement and social recognition must be based on who has the ability to earn foreign money and what has a person done to help his fellow man. Not how many times a politician’s ass has been licked to obtain a knighthood which must be abolished under the rules of the ‘Republic’ status game.

  16. @ Sargeant
    There are 27 full members of the EU not just Greece and Spain!!! 12 have unemployment rates around 8% or below and of this number Luxembourg, Netherlands, Austria and Germany are about 5%.
    When the government began subsidising Gol Airlines flights from Brazil the unemployment rate in that country was 9%.

  17. @ac
    Are you not the same one who persistently argues that our government should own Transport Board because that is the norm globally? Anyway, my point was that it takes more than being surrounded by water to establish a boat building industry.

  18. @ac, “one would think it would be one of the world’s largest artichect in ship building.”
    We have a “ship” building industry. We build moses and fishing launches.

  19. So wait ac,
    You are not satisfied with attacking and ridiculing Bushie on BU, so you gone cross on Bushie’s OWN BLOG (Bush tea at large) and continue the attack?
    …Wuh you is something else…. 🙂

  20. My Politburo redefinition of the Senate where each of the thirty or so seats is held by a representative of a significant minority interest is the idea for me. Just speaking of proven community leaders will not cut it. You have to earmark the the types of leaders, and I have done that.

  21. A politician is a “community leader” and look how they have turned out.

    Now take a look at Porgie. He too could be a good community leader but who in their right mind would hand power and influence over to a man that is so blinkered …?

  22. By the way Skinner, I am a socialist through and through, but there is NO way that I would find my self in the same camp as Bobby, Trevor or David, other than the fact that they stand in opposition to the existing, we would have nothing else in common. Trevor has been on the Back Bench a couple of times, he might have been a Junior Minister at one time, and what was the result …?

  23. @ BAFBFP
    You just shame to say that you like Bushie’s plan for a new model of governance. 🙂 … need to be shy man, say you agree with the bushman….. Lol
    A ‘proven community leader’ is a person who has operated in a leadership position in the community for more than five years and still enjoys the support of that community.
    Who you think you is?…. that YOUR idea of the correct “earmark” is the right one? You sound like just another dictator in that respect.

    Simple criteria:
    1-Any community that represents more than 1000 persons may be represented by the leader of that community.
    2- that leader must have at least 5 years of formal community service as an elected leader.
    3- the pay for the position on the NSC is $ 100 per month.

    These 30 or so “elders” or senators or “supervisors” will now represent us as the EMPLOYERS of the state managers (ministers)

  24. @ BAFBFP

    Why do we have to have a classist society with well-defined titles and function? Could Barbados not be a participatory society with full employment and where work, power and rewards are shared by all? For example, why does the Prime Minister has to be PM all the time? Why can he not help cut the canes sometimes? And why can’t the cane cutter be PM sometimes?

  25. Pacha

    In my books if you believe the opportunity to be gainfully employed (which goes well beyond working for just “lunch money and bus fare”) is a HUMAN RIGHT, then we can talk as equals …! Freundel was never cut out to wield a cutlass, nor was I; wouln’d last five minutes in the shade, but there are many who can, and if it is that you are saying that they should be afforded equal respect with the offering meaningful salaries and eligible for the various honours, well of course I would agree. The cane cutter on the other hand would have to equip himself with other skills if he is to be PM (BTW so would Freundel Stuart )


    Your plan address only ONE demographic, that of geography (location). My plan address at least ten (and counting) – geographic, religious, business type, NGO type, race, employment type …. etc). We are not that far apart. The community as you put it could be a religous community of 5000 or more, or an immigrant community of 5000 or more, or THE rural community (only one seat here) and so on.

  26. @ BAFBFP
    you lost the bushman there. Bushie can see no difference.
    What geography what?!
    Bushie is saying the same thing you are…. Just that your semantics may be a bit more refined… 🙂

    ” community” is not geographic at all. E.g. BARP is a particularly powerful community …if only they knew how much so…

  27. We think so little iof ourselves/no wonder we allow others to do the thinking for us. “moses”my neighbour was an excellent boat builderand none of those boats look like moses barbadians has a reservoir of knoweldge in its people that has been taken for granted but which other countries take advantage of when our people leaves our shores …………………..bushie you have great potential but hiding it under a bushel….like your website. ……

  28. LOL @ ac
    “…..bushie you have great potential but hiding it under a bushel….like your website”
    Don’t be misled ac. Life can be funny (strange)… 🙂
    Bushie is only be an occasional distraction from a reality of the realization of immense potential…..

    …..and keep off Bushie’s blog. That was just a brief experiment, nothing like David’s game changer here….:)

  29. Alright, seem like we saying the same thing … BUT I GET DEY FIRST. I been polishing dis plan fah years. Even Commission try to tief it and made it part of his 2008 campaign. He failed … Some how wah you come up wid soun’ a lil different from what you were saying in previous years. I ain’ change my tune one bit in quarter of a century. So it go’ah be BAF plan NOT Bush Tea’s …

  30. Skippa, Bushie could care less…. Bushie got anudda plan dat far betta than dis one… De BBE Plan!
    However The difference between your plan and Bushie’s is that Bushie ALSO have an implementation plan….. Dat is why we need Caswell and BU David (you thought Caswell was included for his looks? ….not in that suit 🙂 )

    LOL …you ain’t see Dr The Honourable was talking about YOUR plan above…? LOLOL Ha Ha

  31. Big man … HA HA HA HA … Na wonda you feel a connect wid Jeff Broomes … But here is the thing, Franklyn can form na part of the implementation. Franklyn is a stick in the mud. I lookin’ fah fluency and dynamism, withi a touch of creativity. I got my own people in mind…

  32. BAFBFP | December 1, 2012 at 11:20 AM |
    A politician is a “community leader” and look how they have turned out.

    Now take a look at Porgie. He too could be a good community leader but who in their right mind would hand power and influence over to a man that is so blinkered …?

  33. It is good ol’ man that you understand this. In my mind Hitler was the most EFFECTIVE leader of the twentieth century, but the tunnel vision thing was clearly is undoing.

  34. $hoite man BAFBFP, you like you is some kind of Hitler yuh!
    Any time a fella feel that he has “the” right answers you can bet your last dollar he is a freak (unless of course he is a Bushman 🙂 )
    Not a thing ain’t wrong with Caswell. He has proven himself with YEARS of unselfish, bold, and controversial service in the people’s service as a VOLUNTEER….. Wuh you do that entitle this plan to be exclusively YOUR way?

    …all you do is call a few programs and cuss David Ellis and boost up Peter Wick ham.
    ….it look like we going have to dump you from this team even before we start yuh… 🙂

  35. Bush

    Ha Ha ha … Look I jus’ cocky, and when you become clear on wah it is that I trying to achieve (hint … it is based on a concept that Barbados can produce something that the rest of the world will be prepared to buy) you will understan’ why I try to encourage my call in friend to throw the likes of Ellis and all other pretenders to the curb, in fact you may even decide to do the same thing with this Caswell guy … Sorry, servants are not people that I am comfortable around for extended periods. But yeah, I gotta bring this ego thng in check … thnx

  36. @BAFBFP “Freundel was never cut out to wield a cutlass, nor was I”

    On the contrary. I believe that both you and Freundel (as was I) would have make great cane cutters in your day. You would have, could hav, lasted decades in the fields. You would ba amazed at how the cane cutting work, in the hot sun toughens a man (or woman) up…Both you and Freundel could have been decades long “A” class can cutters, and lived to be 100 as a bonus.

    But you chose not to be.

  37. I agree with Hal Austin and I go on to say that critical thinking and intelligence will never be rewarded in Barbados. Look around in our Civil Service, those who try to offer their services that are informed by critical thinking and intelligence from the soul personality, are brushed aside because in many cases those in authority would have never heard of what you would had proposed and so they relegate you to the rank of the grabage bin and endorse their loyal subjects who are in the habit of receiving and owning what is said or given to them without any questions – in other words, to tow the line will be always rewarded in the Civil Service of Barbados. As soon as you come on the scene and make attempts to assist persons to improve their life chances by raising their level of consciousness, your character is assassinated (by jealous family members at times) and we all know how a negative rumour sinks into the subconscious minds of most of our people. Before you know it, persons begin to treat you with disdain and justify their reasons by use of the same negative rumour. What is heart-wrenching is that in many cases, when they speak of you, they do not even know you in person until you are pointed out to them. Again, I remind them: Cosmic Law is always in operation. Let those that have ears, listen!

    • It is very amusing to listen to DLP operatives and others praising civil servants about how the country’s success can be attributed to a strong civil service. Perhaps in the old world the current structure sufficed but in this brave new world we need to be nimble and the current structure cannot deliver.

      It was very interesting to listen to a program produced by David Ellis (VOB) a couple weeks ago and to hear Mr. Archer who leads the Public Sector Reform initiative speaking about the intransigence of Permanent Secretaries and others blocking the progress of the public service.

      We need to get serious.

      On 7 December 2012 22:59, Barbados Underground

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